Holy Family – Matt 2:19-23

19 But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appeared in sleep to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying: Arise, and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel. For they are dead that sought the life of the child. 21 Who arose, and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But hearing that Archelaus reigned in Judea in the room of Herod his father, he was afraid to go thither: and being warned in sleep retired into the quarters of Galilee.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: See how Joseph was set for ministering to Mary; when she went into Egypt and returned, who would have fulfilled to her this so needful ministry, had she not been betrothed? For to outward view, Mary nourished and Joseph defended the Child; but in truth the Child supported His mother and protected Joseph.

Augustine: How then could his parents go up every year of Christ’s childhood to Jerusalem, as Luke relates, if fear of Archelaus now prevented them from approaching it? This difficulty is easily solved. At the festival they might escape notice in the crowd. . . . So they neither became irreligious by neglecting the festival, nor notorious by dwelling continually in Jerusalem.

Or it is open to us to understand Luke when he says, they “went up every year,” as speaking of a time when they had nothing to fear from Archelaus, who, as Josephus relates, reigned only nine years.

When the Angel in the vision in Egypt said to Joseph, “Go into the land of Israel,” Joseph understood the command to be that he should go straight into Judaea, that being properly “the land of Israel.” But finding Archelaus ruling there, he would not court the danger, as “the land of Israel” might be interpreted to extend to Galilee, which was inhabited by children of Israel.

Or we may suppose His parents supposed that Christ should dwell no where but in Jerusalem, where was the temple of the Lord, and would have gone thither had not the fear of Archelaus hindered them. And they had not been commanded from God to dwell positively in Judaea, or Jerusalem, so as that they should have despised the fear of Archelaus, but only in the land of Israel generally, which they might understand of Galilee.

23 And coming he dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was said by prophets: That he shall be called a Nazarene.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: They might have read this in some Prophets who are not in our canon, as Nathan or Esdras. That there was some prophecy to this purport is clear from what Philip says to Nathanael. “Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth.” [John i. 45]

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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